Summary: While all biblical principles are true & relate to how we are to live, usually there are a handful we make as a foundation to our lives so that rarely a week or even a day goes by where 1 or more of them are not influencing how we live. They are the guiding principles of your life.
How to Conquer Anger by Yielding Rights
As you read the Bible & have had it taught to you over the years, you, like me, have encountered numerous Biblical principles to live by. I calculated this week that in the 30 years I’ve been here, I have preached over 2,100 sermons & obviously through them shared many, many Biblical principles. But if you are like me, there are a handful of truths/principles that you have adopted into the very fabric of your being. While all biblical principles are true & relate to how we are to live, usually there are a handful we make as a foundation to our lives so that rarely a week or even a day goes by where 1 or more of them are not influencing how we live. Your might refer to them as the guiding principles of your life. It would be insightful if we had the time to go around the room & have you share 1 or 2 of those foundational principles in your life. Well, today I want to share with you 1 of those principles in my life. And this was on the forefront of my mind again b/c I was sharing it with Phillip & Monica in our pre-marital counseling time this week.
I have shared before how it was shocking revelation to me to discover after I was married how much of a selfish, self-centered person I was. When you are put in situations where caring for yourself & your likes & wants are no longer the focal point (even though you weren’t tuned into that fact about yourself) – but now you are to lay down your life daily to meet the needs of your mate – well, needless to say, you have some fertile ground for anger.
Now please understand anger can manifest itself in many ways. It is not just the loud outburst that we typically think of. That wasn’t the way I expressed it - but frustration, moodiness, sulking, depression, & manipulation can all flow from being angry – angry you’re not getting what you want or angry things aren’t happening the way you want them too or when you want them too. So as I said, I discovered after I was married that I had many opportunities to learn how to deal with anger & its various manifestations. Well, I started making progress & thought I was getting a handle on it but then 5 years later children started coming along & I discovered a whole new layer of selfishness. The Lord kept peeling off more layers, like an onion. And here I am 41 years into marriage & the Lord’s still pulling back layers. How much is there, Lord? And He’s been very kind by not saying, “You don’t want to know.”
I want to share with you today a principle that when I came to understand it, radically changed the way I lived & responded to such situations. And I will tell you that every time, w/o fail, I have practiced this principle, I have conquered anger & its offspring – every time! I’m not saying I’ve practiced it every time (I wish I could) but every time I HAVE applied it, I have been victorious over anger.
So what I want to share with you works. I’ve tested & proved it. Those of you who have been here awhile may remember it b/c it is 1 of those 2100 sermons I preached. It’s not the most glamorous, flashy truth you will ever hear. In fact, it requires a tough choice to live by it b/c the natural reaction is to think that if you apply it, you will come out on the short end of the stick. But I will also testify to you, that that is not true. It’s what the enemy wants you to think, but it is a lie, a very effective lie, but nevertheless a lie. Now before I tell you the principle, there are some other things we need to cover first.
We must first ask a very crucial question – why do we get angry? What is it that leads you to respond with anger? Now just keep in mind when I say “respond with anger” again, we’re not just talking about the typical angry outburst but all those other manifestations too. What is it that leads us to respond in these ways? And the answer is really very simple & straight-forward. I respond or am tempted to respond in anger b/c I believe someone (that person – whoever it happens to be at that moment) has violated 1 of my rights! I believe it is possible to trace anger back to the violation of some personal right or perceived right you believe you have. In fact, I would challenge you to do an experiment this afternoon – sit down & remember the last time you were tempted or actually did get angry & the circumstances that were involved – and see if you cannot trace it back to some right or perceived right that from your perspective was violated, was not met. And if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll be able to come up with at least 1.